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Ways to Become More Likeable

[ Leadership & Team Development ]

How many of us have to deal with “jerks” from time to time?   Well, I can say with a great deal of confidence that most of us have interactions with individuals who truly have no clue as to their lack of people skills or how they come across to others.  I realize more and more in my interactions with others that individuals who are truly likeable leave a lasting positive impression on others. These are folks who are genuine in their relationships with themselves and others.   The fact is that no matter what business we are in; we are definitely in the people business.  And guess what?  The more that people like you, the better and easier your life becomes!  Likeability is a major facet of who we are that can get us to where we want to go in life.   Likeability plays a tremendous role in everyday experiences such as getting good service at a restaurant all the way to whether we are elected to a political office.

Likeability is obviously crucial in a service or sales role because people will normally buy from people they like.  Why is that?   People like and relate to other people who are genuine, pleasant, trustworthy, sincere, easy to talk with, and friendly. Seems pretty easy to comprehend doesn’t it?  Unfortunately, it’s a really simple correlation that many persons never see.  Consequently, they lead lives that likely are not as successful or enjoyable as they could be.Now, let’s be clear here.   There is no way to please everyone, as the old saying goes.   But, I’m sure we can all agree that we’ll do better on the job and in our lives by being likeable.   Since most of us spend more than a third of our lives at work, it is important to be likeable, which will allow us to be more successful.

“Likeability is a skill – something we all universally can work on getting better at,” wrote Robit Bhargava in his book, “Likeonomics:  The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior and Inspiring Action.”

However, let’s not confuse likeability with niceness.  Nice people will try to make you feel better and protect your feelings. Likeable people will always tell you the truth.  A famous example of this trait is Steve Jobs, who was a well-known tough-love truth teller.  Jobs was known to be blunt and transparent, which instilled trust among many of those who worked with him.

I want to share some thoughts on likeability from the well-known businessman, author, and columnist, Harvey Mackay, who says that we can boost our overall “likeability” by focusing on the following areas:

Listen to People:   No one appreciates being ignored.  Pay attention when friends and co-workers are talking to show that you are interested in what they have to say.   When you recognize and acknowledge other people’s feelings, you are letting them know how much you care about them.

Give Compliments:  Be sure to tell people when you like and appreciate something they have done.  Honest, genuine, and sincere praise and appreciation are music to everyone’s ears.  Even a simple “Good morning” can do wonders.

Take an Interest In Your Team Members’ and Clients’ Lives:   We should always try to find out what interests people have and what energizes them – family, hobbies, vacations, goals, etc.   We likely would be amazed at the talents, interests, and skills that people we frequently interact with have.



Use People’s Names:   We all like the sound of our own names.  We should make it a habit to use names to show that we know and value the person we’re talking to.  Valuable tip on this one…. always make certain you have the correct name!

Recognize Important Days in the Lives of Others: This one is close to my heart.  The acknowledgement of birthdays, work anniversaries, significant accomplishments, etc. is very meaningful to developing solid relationships throughout life.  I am always encouraged by those individuals who think enough of me to acknowledge my birthday each year via email or text.   This means that somewhere in their personal data tracking system, my special day is noted as one that needs to be acknowledged.  What a wonderful and meaningful habit this is to develop.

Ask For Help:   Most people want to help, and if you ask politely, they will usually appreciate knowing that you respect their talents and skills.  By the same token, try to always be willing to help others when they ask you for assistance.  Even if it is an annoyance, it is usually worth the time taken to help out when asked.

Admit Your Weaknesses and Mistakes:   This can be a tough one to do!   But let’s admit that no one is perfect, and pretending to be will usually alienate others.   Honesty is always the best policy as the old saying goes.  We can consider it to be “likeability insurance”.   People truly respect those who are not afraid to acknowledge their limitations.

Share Your Passions:   Passion for something can be contagious.   As a matter of fact, it usually is!   Friends and co-workers will respond to your dreams and goals if you express them sincerely and enthusiastically.  You are likely to discover that others have similar dreams.

Show a Sense of Humor:   Most of us would not care to work with a standup comedian!   That would probably get old very quickly.  But, it’s really wonderful if you are willing to laugh at yourself, your mistakes, and some of the funny things that happen throughout the day.   Neither a work place nor a home has to be a funeral home!

Return Phone Calls and Respond to Emails/Texts Promptly:  This one is obviously applicable to our 21st Century technology.  The longstanding “rule of thumb” for returning phone calls is within 24 hours.  Responding to emails and texts can usually be done much quicker.  Even if you can’t provide a full answer to a question or “weigh in” on an issue that has been emailed to you, a quick “Got it.  Will be back with you ASAP.” normally suffices until you have the time to fully respond.

What is it that you can do today to improve your likeability?


“Improve your likeability, improve your life.”

Harvey Mackay

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